Everett City Councilor Anthony DiPierro will not quit his council post, a spokesperson said Wednesday, despite public calls for his resignation after he shared a racist meme with some of his fellow Council members. Everett's Mayor Carlo DeMaria, a relative of DiPierro's, said Wednesday the city was investigating the incident but declined to call for DiPiero to resign.

DeMaria told reporters, "I think he [DiPierro] knows he made a big mistake" but said it was up to DiPierro to decide whether or not to step down.

The mayor said there were "possibly other city employees involved" in the text chain which has been referred to the City's Human Resources department for investigation.

DiPierro apparently shared the racist cartoon some months ago, and the mayor suggested Wednesday that it was only made public now because someone was angry at DiPierro over an unrelated legal dispute. “We can’t look at people’s private text messages, and these text messages were revealed... due to an ongoing lawsuit, and that’s why they became available,” DeMaria said.

While DiPierro has acknowledged one racist meme, there are reportedly two others. DeMaria said, "I don't believe it's an isolated incident."

"I've seen some of this behavior from some other elected officials, and we are thoroughly investigating all people's social media pages," said DeMaria. "I want people to understand that we're taking this very seriously, that we don't condone this type of behavior."

Cathy Draine, Everett’s new director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, stood alongside DeMaria as he spoke to reporters. She said Everett was willing to "grapple with" the problem of racism, and that she’d been brought in to take action to help Everett deal with these issues, including hiring more people of color and holding people accountable.

Most city officials and workers are white in Everett, a city that has seen a dramatic demographic shift over recent decades. Two-thirds of the city’s residents are non-white or Hispanic/Latino. Twenty years ago, only about 25% of the city was non-white.

Samantha Lambert, who is white and a member of Everett's school committee, said over the years Everett's government had developed a sense of "entitlement," and it is up to the community to really change the city.

"To see the public face of somebody and then hear their private words, and wonder," Lambert said. "That impacts the entire being of our community, the trust."